Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Mark Crispin Miller and Nomi Prins on Wednesday's Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough
Please tune in to Wednesday's The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough. We have an exciting show planned. First up will be noted author and journalist Mark Crispin Miller, who returns to give us an update on election fraud, which threatens the November midterms. Mark's latest book is "Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)." Next we welcome back author and journalist Nomi Prins, whose article in Newsday last week addressed the skyrocketing cost of gasoline and what we can do about it. Nomi's new book is "Jacked: How "Conservatives" are Picking your Pocket (whether you voted for them or not)."
The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, is a weekly political call-in talk show that tackles the Right Wing spin machine head on (www.OstroyDeLaiteReport.com). It covers the ever-changing political landscape with guests that include The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, WABC Radio's Ron Kuby, Air America's Marc Maron, nationally-syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller, Russ Baker, BuzzFlash.com's Mark Karlin, BradBlog.com's Brad Friedman, NY State Attorney General candidate Mark Green, Michigan Congressional candidate Nancy Skinner and others. The show airs every Wednesday at 6:30PM in NYC on Time Warner channel 67. It can also be viewed live over the internet at MNN.org. Just follow the steps to "Watch MNN/ch 67."
Monday, May 29, 2006
There's been a lot of chatter lately about a possible '08 run for the White House by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Despite repeated denials of a presidential bid, he's been expanding his political horizons by commenting on a wide-variety of national-interest issues such as the environment, illegal immigration, gun control, stem-cell research, intelligent design and gay marriage. Regardless of his broader political aspirations or lack thereof, I happen to think a Bloomberg candidacy has a lot of viability.
It's unlikely he'd be able to win either the Democratic or Republican nomination. But with voters' anger and frustration with Bush and the Republicans never greater, and with their clear lack of enthusiasm for Democrats, the time has never been better for a 3rd party candidate to race down the middle and capture the disenfranchised on both sides. Though such independent candidates have never fared well in American politics, that doesn't mean they never will. What Bloomberg has that no other candidate has is party duality. He's the only one who could say "I've been a Democrat, I've been a Republican, and I can give you the very best of both parties while also giving you the fresh perspective of a Washington outsider who's not beholden to any special interests." He could run on a bi-partisan platform that promises to bring the nation together after more than a decade of unprecedented nastiness between the parties. In an era of unjust war, record deficits, skyrocketing energy costs and rampant corruption, this sort of message could strike a major chord with voters and change history.
Unlike the current White House occupant and "CEO" president, Bloomberg is a highly effective and successful chief executive in both business and politics. His media empire has made him one of the richest people in the world with an estimated $5 billion fortune. This success has translated into political success as mayor of New York. On his watch, NYC has amassed a $5-billion budget surplus; crime has continued to drop; the public education system has been overhauled, and test scores have risen; the streets are cleaner; and tourism has never been stronger.
As if this record wasn't enough to attract voters, consider that his politics represent the mood of a majority of Americans today: socially moderate and fiscally conservative. He's got the track-record, the deep pockets, and the f**k-you attitude towards special interests to appeal to the tens of millions who are fed up with the current state of politics.
The big questions is, if he did run, and he didn't win, would he simply be a spoiler as Ralph Nader was in 2000? And if so, who would he pull votes from, the Dems or the Repugs? Stay tuned. I have a feeling we're going to be hearing a lot more about "non-candidate" Bloomberg's candidacy over the next several months.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Bush Promises to Stay the Course in Iraq Until the Mission's Completed. But Just What the Hell is the Mission Anyway?
It's been over three years since the United States invaded Iraq. Three years since Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell--the Fab Five of fabricated intelligence--sold us a bill of goods about Saddam Hussein's growing arsenal of WMD and fears of mushroom clouds. They even knew where the WMD was, Rumsfeld arrogantly boasted. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush's partner in crime, said the bombs were a mere 45 minutes away. And in the biggest lie of all, they morphed Saddam into 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda into Iraq, and thus the official Bushevik war on terror was deceptively hatched. We invaded Iraq, they told us, to stop Saddam's production of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and more so to keep him from giving these WMD to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, with whom he was directly connected. Fight 'em over there, they said, so we don't have to fight 'em over here. Blah, blah, blah....
That was 2003. Yet in 2006, with no WMD or direct Al Qaeda ties to Saddam found, the Busheviks are still regurgitating the same fear-mongering rhetoric. That it was necessary to take out the big bad evil-doer Saddam. That he was a threat to the Middle East, to Israel and the U.S.
To this end, Bush was a very busy propagandist on Saturday. In his morning radio address, and in his commencement speech to West Point graduates, the once-AWOL commander-in-chief reiterated the same drivel he's been spewing to the nation for the past four years. Speaking of our troops, Bush said: "Because of their courage and sacrifices, Iraq has a free government that will be a strong and capable ally in the global war on terror...In recent days in Iraq, we've seen what their sacrifices have made possible. The best way to honor America's fallen heroes is to carry on their fight, defend our freedom, and complete the mission for which they gave their lives."
But what exactly is our mission these days? It's changed so many times I've lost track. It's not WMD or Al Qaeda connections, obviously. And it can't be regime change or installing a Democracy, milestones which have already occurred. If Bush knows what the mission is he certainly isn't sharing it. Judging from recent polls giving Bush embarrassingly low ratings for his handling of the war, Americans are clueless as well. And they're finally frustrated and angry.
The truth has never gotten in Bush's way before, and it's no obstacle to him now, despite how utterly ridiculous his claims: "The greatest danger America faces is the threat from terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction," he told the cadets. Deja vu all over again. It's time this war criminal (invading a sovereign nation unjustly; Geneva Convention violations; lying to Congress and the U.N.) stops Bushitting the American people and starts leveling with us instead. We want to know why we are in Iraq. Why our soldiers are getting killed. How long he intends to keep the troops there. What the game plan is for withdrawal. And in clear and concise terms, what the mission is.
Until then, all we seem to be doing is fighting an energized, fanatical insurgency that's clearly not "in its last throes," as Cheney once moronically predicted. The war, with no clear purpose, is spiraling out of control and getting worse every day. In a rare candid moment Saturday, Bush told the new soldiers that "the war began on my watch, but it's going to end on your watch." A little glimpse into the future that they, and we, would rather not see.
Friday, May 26, 2006
It's a Great Sign When Repugs Like John Podhoretz Start Saying Gore Can't Win. In Repug-speak, That Means They're Afraid He Will
It's common knowledge in politics that when the opposition tries to marginalize you and mock your viability as a candidate, the exact opposite is true and you're the opponent they'd least like to face. Conversely, when they anoint a particular candidate as the
"frontrunner" and "the one to beat," what that actually means is that this is the candidate they really believe they can beat. And as conservative pundit John Podhoretz proves in his Friday NY Post column, such is starting to be the case with Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.
Podhoretz not only mocks Gore, but his growing legion of supporters as well."Gore's fan club clearly believes the Real Al Gore isn't the cautious Southern moderate who served as an elected politician for 22 years. Rather, Gore's defeat in 2000 let him be reborn as a kind of political holy man who speaks his heart, a fearless advocate of "inconvenient truths" that the powerful and well-connected don't want to hear...This is a Democrat-Leftist fantasy of salvation... They also desire salvation from the potential anguish of having to support a frontrunner named Clinton who voted for the war in Iraq."
Actually, I think the fantasy is all Podhoretz's and that of his Repuglican brethren. They're the ones salivating at the thought of their guy--be it McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Gingrich, etc--going head-to-head against Hillary. She's the one they want, but it's much easier to mask all that excitement and wishful thinking by claiming she's the Democrats' chosen one.
"Hillary Clinton is in a unique position in modern American political history. Polls of Democratic primary voters give her a 25-30 point edge over her closest potential rivals, Gore and John Kerry," Podhoretz states. Oh, but how quickly he forgets that Howard Dean also commanded a very early and sizable lead before the primaries began, and we all know what happened to him.
"Unless she does something to disrupt her own progress, or unless something happens in the world that makes her candidacy untenable, Hillary will be the Democratic nominee," Podhoretz opines. "And there's no doubt she will be a tougher candidate to defeat than Al Gore, whose message of onrushing global doom isn't exactly the kind of optimistic promise of a better future that resonates with voters."
It's music to my ears when I hear spinheads like Podoretz making such early and inane predictions. He doesn't realize just how transparent he is. Hate to spoil your fantasy John, but Gore's message is resonating quite well, which is precisely why he's getting incredible nationwide attention and is perceived as a very viable '08 candidate and serious threat to Hillary. But of course you already know that.
With All That's Wrong in America Today, Red-Staters Turn Their Wrath to The Dixie Chicks Instead of Bush and the GOP
What is wrong red-state America today? Their sons and daughters are dying in Iraq. They lost homes after Katrina struck. They're paying $25 a week more at the gas pump. Their wages are stagnant, and their unemployment rates are well above average. Their healthcare's mediocre, and academically their schools rank the lowest in the country. No matter how you score it, they should be mad as hell at Bush and the Repuglican leadership. But it's The Dixie Chicks instead who make them angry. All because lead singer Natalie Maines had the balls to say what they should be saying if only they weren't so brainwashed by The Rove Gang.
Just two weeks before the Iraq war in 2003, Maines told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." This fiery comment caused quite a stir with the country music-lovin' folks back home, and Maines was compelled to issue a half-hearted apology to Bush, which she now regrets. "I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President. But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever....If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am, I don't know what to do about that. I can't change who I am."
Since then, Maines and her bandmates have been paying dearly for her honesty. Record sales have plummeted, and country radio stations refuse to play their music. Their new single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," off their new album, "Taking the Long Way," is getting little airplay. As one radio host said, it's "a four-minute fuck you to the format and our listeners. I like the Chicks, and I won't play it." Furthermore, they're virtually invisible on country music cable channel CMT. And at the Academy of Country Music awards Tuesday night they were dissed by country queen Reba McEntire, the show's host, who fired off a sharp dig to rousing applause: "If the Dixie Chicks can sing with their foot in their mouths, surely I can host this sucker." McEntire should stick to singing and leave politics to those who read a newspaper (and leave the joking to funny people).
Three years, no WMD and 2500 dead U.S. soldiers later you'd think the Chicks would have earned some respect for being so prescient. Fat chance. The right-wing fanatics prefer to slap inane yellow "Support the Troops" bumper stickers on their cars rather than face the reality that, under the false pretense of national security, their beloved president manufactured intelligence and sent these troops to die in an unnecessary war. It's Bush they should be livid with, not Maines. She was merely exercising her 1st Amendment right of free speech; the same rights our soldiers in Iraq are giving their lives to supposedly protect. What a shameful irony.
It's time Repuglicans start to realize what's truly important, and that not everything has to be partisan. We're all Americans, and if the war's a disaster for one of us, it's a disaster for us all. Kudos to Maines for her courage three years ago, and for her resolve today.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The Al Gore-inspired documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" opened across America Wednesday to a battery of highly-charged reviews. But whether or not the film gets its props or pans unfortunately depends on which side of the political aisle you're on. You'd think that the concern over the rise in natural disasters, the warming of the planet, and the raping of the environment would be a non-partisan one. Guess again.
To the left, the problem is real and grave. David Edelstein suggests in his New York Magazine review that conservatives are going to trash and bash the heck out of this film and of Gore. "That is how much of the mainstream media is likely to characterize this new documentary of Gore and his traveling global-warming slide show: Anything else would invite charges of liberal bias. But the fact is--the fact is--that only a brainwashed audience (and their brainwashers) could portray anything in "An Inconvenient Truth" as even remotely controversial. Gore has all the graphs and charts and time-lapsed photographs and peer-reviewed scientific studies he needs to underscore his message about where the planet is heading and sooner than we think. So be afraid. Be very afraid."
While the film is being harshly criticized by Repugs, it has the unwavering support of scientists. "Perhaps the most amazing statistic in "An Inconvenient Truth," writes Edelstein, "is that of 900-plus peer-reviewed studies in recognized journals, not one has challenged the idea of global warming, whereas more than 53 percent of articles in the mainstream media have presented it as a theory or been careful to include the demurrals of a tiny handful of bought-and-paid-for scientists or politicians. In the course of Gore's lecture tour comes the unsurprising news that Bush aide Philip Cooney routinely red-penciled the conclusions of impartial government scientists; when exposed, he resigned and took a job with ExxonMobil."
He closes his review with: "An Inconvenient Truth is one of the most realistic documentaries I've ever seen and, dry as it is, one of the most devastating in its implications. See it with your kids and watch closely to see who attacks it and on what grounds."
The film gets similar love from the venerable NY Times in a review by A.O Scott, who believes the documentary is not about Al Gore per se. "He is, rather, the surprisingly engaging vehicle for some very disturbing information. His explanations of complex environmental phenomena--the jet stream has always been a particularly tough one for me to grasp--are clear, and while some of the visual aids are a little corny, most of the images are stark, illuminating and powerful."
Scott is awed by the film's evidentiary impact. "I can't think of another movie in which the display of a graph elicited gasps of horror, but when the red lines showing the increasing rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and the corresponding rise in temperatures come on screen, the effect is jolting and chilling. Photographs of receding ice fields and glaciers--consequences of climate change that have already taken place--are as disturbing as speculative maps of submerged coastlines."
Gore, he said, "speaks of the need to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions as a "moral imperative," and most people who see this movie will do so out of a sense of duty, which seems to me entirely appropriate." Well now, isn't that a terrific benefit? Getting the public to actually take some environmentally-conscious action. On this merit alone the film should be lauded. "An Inconvenient Truth," he says, "is a necessary film."
Now let's take a peek at the right wingers' perspective. In Rupert Murdoch's NY Post's review, Kyle Smith starts the trashfest early: "Al Gore's global-warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is sure to get an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary, but Gore should campaign for Best Actor, too....Much of what Gore says in this slide show he gives to people whose minds are not yet fully formed (undergraduates, actors) is absurd, and his assertions often contradict each other....Look carefully at Gore's charts and you'll see that the worst horrors take place in the future of his imagination....Gore is a dangerous evangelist for whom all roads lead to his sole, holy revelation."
And in his NY Times Op-ed Tuesday, conservative John Tierney also did a hatchet job on the film, and on Gore, and reduced the overall threat of global warming to a minor nuisance, if that. He began with, "If Al Gore's new movie weren't titled "An Inconvenient Truth," I wouldn't have quite so many problems with it. He should have gone with something close to "Revenge of the Nerd." You could probably gather that it gets worse from there. The film, he said, "is a cinch to win an Oscar, and deservedly so. Getting anyone to voluntarily endure 100 minutes of Al Gore and his slides is a historic cinematic achievement."
But perhaps the most telling comment from Tierney is that he believes Gore's main strategy is to rouse voters by presenting "doomsday scenarios and ignore the evidence that civilization may just survive after all. You could ague that the ends justify the means--that only by terrifying the public can you rouse politicians into doing the right thing." This is a subject Tierney, Smith and the rest of the Repugs ought to know a lot about. Their party leaders have been shamelessly using fear and terror to scare voters ever since 9/11. That they are now turning global warming into a highly-charged partisan issue is predictable; but that they're choosing to do so in an election year with the tsunami, Katrina and Rita, and astronomical energy prices as a backdrop, is a gift horse for Democrats.
BradBlog's Brad Friedman to Appear on Wednesday's Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough
Please tune in to Wednesday's The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, as we'll be joined for the first time by Brad Friedman of The BradBlog , a progressive online source for breaking news, commentary and solid investigative reporting. We'll get Brad's views on the Bushevik Monarchy, the debacle in Iraq, election fraud, the November midterms and more.
The Ostroy/DeLaite Report...Where Democrats Play Rough, is a weekly political call-in talk show that tackles the Right Wing spin machine head on (www.OstroyDeLaiteReport.com). It covers the ever-changing political landscape with guests that include The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, WABC Radio's Ron Kuby, Air America's Marc Maron, nationally-syndicated radio host Stephanie Miller, Mark Crispin Miller, Russ Baker, BuzzFlash.com's Mark Karlin, NY State Attorney General candidate Mark Green, Michigan Congressional candidate Nancy Skinner and others. The show airs every Wednesday at 6:30PM in NYC on Time Warner channel 67. It can also be viewed live over the internet at MNN.org. Just follow the steps to "Watch MNN/ch 67."
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Every time I think the Repuglicans have stooped to new lows and can't get any lower, along comes RNC chair Ken Mehlman with yet another incredibly ludicrous, insanely deceptive, shameless display of unparalleled partisan gall. In an email to constituents Tuesday, Mehlman has the supreme cojones to blame astronomical gas prices on Democrats, while touting President Bush as the great energy guru who's going to eliminate our pain at the pump.
"As you plan your summer road trip, you've had to budget for rising prices at the pump," Mehlman writes. "President Bush is focused on providing practical solutions to energy prices: fair prices at the pump, increased supplies of gasoline, greater fuel efficiency, and new alternative fuels. When it comes to lowering energy costs, all Democrats offer is hot air designed to conceal their long record of supporting higher energy costs for America's families."
The email also provides a link to the RNC's new video which portends to "find out how much the Democrat's energy proposals would cost America at the pump." Is he out of his mind? Is he suffering from the worst case of delusion known to man, or is he simply one of the most reprehensible, pathological liars in the history of politics who thinks Americans are the stupidest people alive?
Mehlman also offers Repugs the opportunity to "use our gas calculator to find out how much more Democrats want you to pay at the pump." Here, you put in your make, model and year of car and these wallet-jacking ReTHUGlicans spit back at you some asinine estimation of your increased gas costs under the Democrats. Only these cretons could cause gas prices to double on their watch and attempt to blame it on Democrats. Only these self-serving oil peddlers could sit idle for six years while letting the gas companies rape the American people, only to crawl out from their rock in an election year to blame Dems and claim Bush has all the answers.
"When it comes to gas prices, Americans have a choice between President Bush's four-point plan for lowering prices at the pump, or liberal Democrats who consistently choose higher taxes, more regulations, and more dependence on foreign oil over safe exploration within our borders," Mehlman spins.
"Watch the video and see what a Democrat-controlled Congress would cost you," says Mehlman. What bullshit. The DNC should immediately put out a video that says, "Watch OUR video and see what the Republican-controlled Congress HAS cost you." Howard Dean, are you listening? Get out there and speak the damned truth to voters. Don't let these lying criminals dominate the stage on this issue. Go for the jugular. Ram the current $3.30 gas prices down their throats at every possible turn. Remind America that gas prices were $1.50 when Bush took office, and that a barrel of oil cost $30 instead of this week's $67.50. Remind them how the Busheviks let the energy companies write their own legislation last year. Remind them of Bush and Cheney's history as oilmen, their current financial ties to the oil industry, and that Condi Rice has a friggin' oil tanker named after her for Pete's sake. Remind them that while the little guy's paying an extra $20 a week to fill the tank, ExxonMobil recorded a record $34-billion profit last year and is on track to exceed that amount this year. Put them on the defensive. Demand that they justify to voters how their coziness with the energy companies has been anything but good for America. It's time we put a stop to the reprehensible rhetoric from the likes of Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove and the Busheviks themselves.
In his six years as president, he's led the country into a tragic war of choice; criminally misused intelligence; botched the Hurricane Katrina response; seen gas prices double; created a culture of corruption; and watched his approval rating sink into the 20's. Is it any wonder that Repuglicans seeking re-election this Fall are avoiding him like the Black Plague?
An extremely troubling scenario for the party is illustrated by a recent poll by the non-partisan Cook Political Report that found that among those most likely to vote in the November midterms, people favored the Democratic candidate for Congress over the Republican by 18 percentage points. This is a direct result of voter frustration and anger over the failed policies of the Busheviks and the Repuglican-controlled Congress. Recent polls show that almost 70% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, forcing many Repuglicans locked in close races to distance themselves from Bush and run on their own merits.
One case in point is Pennsylvania Rep. Curt Weldon, who's running against Democrat Joe Sestak in the state's 7th Congressional District. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Weldon has chosen not to attend a fundraiser that Bush is hosting Wednesday for two other suburban incumbents, Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach. Instead, Weldon's placing his fate in the hands of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who he's chosen instead to campaign and raise funds with.
The president, Weldon said, "is really doing poorly in our state. I've got to win this by myself." He added that, with Bush's poll numbers so low, "there's nothing the president can do to help me."
Weldon is not alone. Other Repug's in close battles, including Senators Rick Santorum (PA), Jim Talent (MO) and Mike DeWine (OH), have also kept Bush at arm's length and attempted to distance themselves from the failures of the administration. With the Iraq war spiraling out of control and gas prices expected to rise another 25 cents+ this Summer--two of the biggest issues on voters' minds today--we can expect to see more and more Repugs suddenly finding themselves "busy with other engagements" whenever the prez hits town.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Immigration reform is the new gay marriage. It's the wedge issue of the day, and phase two of the Busheviks' divide-and-conquer strategy. The powers that be in the Republican Party, especially in the U.S. House of Representatives, link the issue to border security and the war on terror. And of course, the fear-mongering Repugs will milk this connection till the cows dry up. But there's another angle the GOP's pursuing, and that's the economic one; that illegal immigrants are hurting the economy by taking jobs away from Americans. But is the U.S. government doing anything about this when it has the ability to do so? Not a chance. For now, until the Repugs lose some power, corporate America is safe. Safe to keep hiring as much cheap illegal labor as it wants.
In his conservative magazine Human Events, editor Terry Jeffrey writes in a recent article that the government knows exactly which companies are violating the law by hiring illegals, yet is giving these law-breakers a free pass. He cites the Social Security's Earnings Suspense File (ESF) as the mechanism through which the Busheviks could stem the tide of illegal immigration.
"The ESF is where the SSA puts W-2 reports when the Social Security Number on the report does not match the name," Jeffrey writes. "According to the Government Accountability Office, the ESF is growing by about 9 million W-2s per year. This growth is primarily driven by employers who hire illegal aliens and file W-2s on their behalf using either another person’s or a fake Social Security Number. Each year SSA produces an internal list naming every employer that filed 100 or more non-match W-2s the previous year."
These companies, he said, get a warning from the feds. "Most employers on the list of those filing 100 or more bad W-2s most likely received a letter from the government telling them they had filed those bad W-2s. Employers that year after year file large numbers of bad W-2s know exactly what they are doing."
There's an even more significant list, Jeffrey said, that highlights the most blatant violators. "Call it the Leviathan List. In October 2004, the SSA Inspector General released an audit report listing the 'Top 100' employers that had filed the largest number of bad W-2s in the five years from 1997 to 2001. The report did not name the employers, but listed them by the state in which they are headquartered, the number and percentage of their bad W-2s, and other payroll data."
It should be noted that there is an effort by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to seek from Congress a provision for "carefully crafted access to Social Security no-match data, so that we can detect those employers who are systematically employing workers despite the fact that there’s an obvious mismatch between the names and the Social Security Numbers in question." Whether the current Repuglican leadership enacts such legislation remains to be seen.
Until new laws are passed, corporate America, in its quest for cheap labor, is willfully violating the law and the Busheviks, in their mission to serve their rich corporate constituency, are letting them. But clamping down on this criminality could be making our borders and America itself more secure. Once again the Repugs show just how patriotic they aren't.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Al Gore seems to be everywhere lately, and on the tips of many mainstream media tongues. He's giving more impassioned speeches than ever; graces a slew of magazine covers; did a hilarious bit on last week's Saturday Night Live; his critically-acclaimed global warming film opens this week; and he's getting a ton of mainstream press coverage. Sunday's entire Chris Matthews Show was dedicated to the likelihood of the former veep running for president in 2008, and his chances for winning the nomination. Pretty heady stuff for a guy who says he's not running and who's supposedly not being taken seriously by Democrats.
Speaking on Matthews' show, Time Magazine's Joe Klein said "I think he's thinking about maybe running, he's out promoting a movie, but I think he's gonna take step by step by step. He's a darling of the left, especially the internet left now. If he sees this continue over the next six months, I think he'll be there."
Prompted by Matthews' suggestion that the Democrats are looking for that left-of-Hillary candidate to rally around (Hill's been oddly pro-war and chummy with the Repugs as she attempts to copy her hubby's successful triangulation strategy), the BBC's Katty Kay said "This is exactly what Gore's people are saying. They will tell you the country has changed. That the ideas that Al Gore was talking about back in 2000--global warming, the Iraq war--...that Al Gore is looking more credible on those issues that perhaps people didn't buy into in 2000. So, there's been a change of climate in the country, and I also think people are gonna start wondering if Hillary is as electable as they may have thought."
And NBC's David Gregory said many Democrats are frustrated with Hillary already seemingly running a "general election campaign" without having won the nomination yet, while "Al Gore's got the credibility, the foreign policy experience, been opposed to the war for a long time, is connected to the so-called 'net-roots to the internet."
There's been much talk lately of Gore's supposed war chest and his ability to raise funds in a race against Hillary. Said Kay: "Because he has all this money and he has the name recognition, he can get into this game pretty late in the whole process, and that allows him to run himself as somebody who's an outsider." Gore also has the support of key fundraising organizations and support groups such as MoveOn.org, and would likely have use of Howard Dean's coveted donor mailing list.
In a story Saturday The NY Times suggested that "proponents of a Gore comeback are quick to stake their own claim, oddly enough, to the precedent of Mr. Nixon. They catalog the parallels between the two men's electoral histories. As with Mr. Nixon 40 years earlier, Mr. Gore was a sitting vice president who lost in one of the closest races ever. He left the national stage and made an ill-fated reappearance (Mr. Nixon to lose the California governor's race in 1962, Mr. Gore to endorse Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, which tanked). Mr. Nixon eventually triumphed, eight years after his bitter defeat, at the expense of an incumbent party hampered by an unpopular war." I've been saying this for almost a year now. Gore's the New Nixon. He's The Comeback Kid.
Friday, May 19, 2006
AlterNet.org blogger Jan Frel asked Friday why "the big names in the Democratic Party have even lower numbers than Bush -- is that because everyone's ignoring the crisis in our politics?" He frets over the fact that both John Kerry (26%) and Al Gore (28%) trail the president by five and three percentage points respectively in a recent NY Times/CBS poll. But fret not, Jan, for there's a very logical, statistically valid reason for that: Americans do not get juiced by a presidential election 2 1/2 years ahead of time, and couldn't care less right now about the '08 hopefuls. Their focus is on Bush, Congress, the Iraq war, gas prices, massive debt and corruption. That's what explains both the president's abysmally low poll numbers and why no one's quite yet focused on Gore, Kerry, Hillary and 2008.
More to the point, as of this moment, Gore is not an official candidate for the presidency. He has not campaigned; has not released any official policy positions to voters; has made no promises; and has given the electorate no particular reason to focus on him as a candidate. Similarly, Kerry has not officially announced or campaigned either. Both men are merely speculative names on a writer's page. What should concern Democrats at some point is if both polled lower than Bush, or the eventual Republican nominee, after they announce their candidacies, policy positions and make their campaign promises.
Frel writes that "the Times called Gore one of 'Bush's more vocal critics'. What does that mean? Let's be pragmatic. For starters, it means that Al Gore and John Kerry are big losers in the public eye; they weren't the guys at the inauguration. Even though the results of the 2000 and 2004 elections have been contested and remain in dispute, the truth is that neither Gore nor Kerry ever commanded any kind of massive public support for their positions." I beg to differ.
In 2000, Gore received 51-million votes, more than any other Democrat candidate in history at that time, more than any Republican except Ronald Reagan in 1984, and 500,000 more than George Bush. Just think of the numbers he could put up after eight dreadful years of Bush. He lost by five electoral votes in a highly controversial contest. As for Kerry in 2004, the numbers get even better at 59-million votes, more than any presidential candidate in U.S. history except his opponent Bush, who received 61-million. With just 60,000 more votes in Ohio, Kerry'd be president right now. Not exactly what I'd call "losers...without massive public support."
Frel writes that even Hillary Clinton, who enjoys early frontrunner status, polls at just 31%. So what exactly is Frel's main point, that 2 1/2 years out front it already appears that no one in the Democratic party stands a chance at polling higher than, or beating, a Republican? Studies consistently show that a majority of voters do not begin to percolate over the presidential race until the start of the new year and that they've made up their minds by their July 4th BBQ's. I have a lot of respect for Frel as a writer, but on this one he's suffering a case of premature electorate-ation.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Why Newt Gingrich Will Win the GOP Nomination in 2008. Repugs Forgive and Forget, But Democrats Still Remember.....
Forget Bill Frist. Forget John McCain. Forget Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney as well. And definitely forget Jeb Bush. The person most likely to walk away with the Republican nomination for president of the United States is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday, Gingrich essentially confirmed to host Tim Russert that he intends to toss his hat into the ring: "I'm not ruling out running." If relentless public appearances, talk show interviews, position statements and criticisms of Bush and the GOP are any indication, New Gingrich is most definitely running for something. But while Repugs may forgive and forget, Democrats still remember his sleaziness, greed and corruption.
Gingrich represents what the Republican Party is missing these days: an articulate, charismatic and sincere-sounding masterful politician who also just happens to have stellar credentials as an aggressive attack-dog. Given the current crop of '08 GOP hopefuls, that's an intoxicating blend of qualities for the Repugs.
Gingrich's climb to power culminated in his 1994 co-authoring of the 1994 Contract With America, which resulted in dramatic success for the GOP in that year's Congressional midterms. He was subsequently elected Speaker, and ruled with an iron fist. He was a highly polarizing figure; a partisan combatant who created an environment of contentious opposition to the Clinton administration policies. He was also front and center in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and led the move to impeach President Bill Clinton. Through his 1995 "Republican Revolution," he led a shutdown of the government over budgetary disagreements, but that backfired. That action, and eventual charges of hypocrisy and unethical behavior over a $4.5 million book advance, was the beginning of his political end. (As a Congressman in 1988, Gingrich brought ethics charges against Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright for allegedly using a book deal to circumvent campaign finance laws and House ethics rules. Wright later resigned from Congress).
Lately, Gingrich has been very critical of the Bush administration and the current Republican leadership. Ironically, much of what he condemns--partisan greed and corruption--he knows of firsthand, which makes his holier-than-thou stand arrogant and hypocritical. But people have short memories, especially Republicans. Gingrich is enjoying a measurable degree of respect and reverence from his party and within the media, and by any benchmark his political make-over is a huge success. History has been very kind and forgiving.
Gingrich is old-school Republican: a traditional small government deficit-hawk who's now firmly against the Iraq war. "It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003. ... We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it." Polls show that's what Republican voters are now thinking but are frustrated that they haven't heard it yet from their own leadership. Gingrich will be the party's savior who advocates a gradual withdrawal of troops; a strong defense against terrorism; low taxes; aggressive spending controls; immigration reform with heavy penalties for employers hiring illegals; and, get this, an environmentally-friendly GOP. And he'll do it all with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, a masterful use of the English language (unlike someone else we know), an earnest approach and a willingness to accept that his party is in need of repair.
"I think that means we have to recognize when things aren't working and we have to fix them and not wait for the American people to get so upset that they decide to replace us...We have to be more aggressive about spending, we have to be more aggressive about energy," he told Russert. And being aggressive is certainly something Newt Gingrich knows an awful lot about.
Watching Gingrich on Meet the Press, one can understand how an angry, frustrated Republican electorate can forgive and forget, and easily be sucked in by his charm and overall appeal. But to the rest of us Democrats, he's just the same old carnivorous wolf in a Brooks Brothers suit.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
As Polls Show Voters Soundly Rejecting Bush and the GOP on Every Single Issue, Karl Rove Keeps Lying
"The American people like this president. His personal approval ratings are in the 60's. Job approval is lower. And, what that says to me is, is that people like him, they respect him...he's somebody they feel a connection with, but they're just sour now on the war and that's the way it's gonna be."
Ya gotta hand it to Karl Rove. He's the most consistent, reliable liar in government today. Who cares that Bush's personal approval numbers are actually just a fraction above his embarrassingly and abysmally low 29-33% job approval ratings. Or that his likeability factor is actually at a paltry 39%. That doesn't stop old Turd Blossom from pulling figures out of thin (h)air in trying to make his embattled boss look like much less of a loser. But the repeated Rovian and Bushevik lies are no longer working. Americans are not going to suddenly like Bush because Rove tells them they do. There's only one other thing almost as pathetic as Rove's desperate attempts to bolster Bush's public image and that's First Lady Laura Bush's Stepford Wife-like denial this week of her hubby's dreadful poll numbers. (BTW, how come every single time Bush is in trouble he wheels out his wife and/or mother? How emasculating.)
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week shows that voters prefer Democrats on every single issue facing the country today, from the war in Iraq, terrorism and immigration, to the economy, gas prices, healthcare, education and taxes. Those surveyed gave Bush new job approval lows, and voiced even greater dissatisfaction with the GOP-controlled House and Senate. Additionally, the "wrong track" number now stands at an astounding 69%; almost three-quarters of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Consider these highlights from the survey:
-Bush's job approval is down to 33%, down from 38% last month
-33% approval of the job Congress is doing
-56% prefer to see Democrats in control of Congress after the November elections
-Bush's disapproval rating among Republicans is 30%, up from 15% last month; his approval rating among Republicans fell below 70% for the first time.
-Nearly nine in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 independents do not approval of Bush's job performance
-66% say the war in Iraq was a mistake
-By 2 to 1 or better, voters prefer Democrats to handle gas prices and health care.
-By double-digit margins, they prefer Democrats to handle education (23 percentage points), the budget (20 points), the economy (18 points) and protecting privacy (15 points). Democrats also had a 14-point edge on handling Iraq, immigration and taxes.
-For the first time, Democrats, by 46-41%, were the preferred party to also handle terrorism. This is a very critical change for the Repug's, who've successfully played the terrorism card since 9/11. Many pundits believe that, as terrorism goes for the GOP, so goes the GOP.
Can it get any worse for Bush and the Repugs? Let's hope so.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Following President Bush's immigration address Monday night it's impossible not to become even angrier than ever that he's recklessly sent 2400 U.S. soldiers to die in a war of choice that's squandered $300 billion, while the real war on terror, the threats from Iran and North Korea, and the security of our own borders have been inexcusably shortchanged. Bush's Weapon of Mass Distraction has caused infinitely more harm to our nation than Saddam Hussein ever dreamed of doing.
With the November midterms around the corner, Bush and the Republicans are desperately searching for an issue through which they could rally the base, and that's where immigration and border control comes into play. The only problem is that all this Bushevik rhetoric of the need for high-tech equipment, fences, the National Guard and border patrol agents is a painful reminder of how this irresponsible administration has shamefully wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, troops and overall military assets on an unjust, unnecessary war in Iraq against a non-existent enemy while the real threats to America have chillingly taken a backseat.
Think of how America could be protected if $300 billion was instead invested in securing our borders, waterways, airports and railways.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Al Gore made it all but official on Saturday: his 2008 presidential campaign is off and running. Capping what has been several post-2000 years of highly passionate speeches, books, prominent magazine cover stories and a critically-acclaimed global warming documentary to be released next week, The Goracle raised the bar even higher with a brief but stellar appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live where he humorously mocked the Bush administration while setting the stage for his own candidacy. It was a beautiful thing to watch, and showed that the once-wonkish former veep not only has a serious stockpile of political mojo, as he's demonstrated since 2000, but he's also found his humility, personality and charismatic flair as well. Consider Saturday's performance akin to Bubba's seminal sax-playing moment on Arsenio Hall some sixteen years ago. It was that good.
The show opened with Gore sitting in the Oval Office, addressing a televised audience:
"In 2000, when you overwhelmingly made the decision to elect me as your 43rd president, I knew the road ahead would be difficult. We have accomplished so much yet challenges lie ahead. In the last six years, we have been able to stop global warming. No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack. As you know, these renegade glaciers have already captured parts of Upper Michigan and Northern Maine, but I assure you we will not let the glaciers win.
"Right now, in the second week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history. We have way too much gas. Gas is down to .19 cents a gallon, and the oil companies are hurting. I know that I am partly to blame by insisting that cars run on trash. I am therefore preparing a federal bailout of our oil companies because, hey, if it were the other way around you know the oil companies would help us.
"On a positive note, we worked hard to save welfare, fix social security and, of course, provide free universal healthcare we all enjoy today. But all this came at a high cost. As I speak, the gigantic national budget surplus is is down to a perilously low $11-trillion. And don't get any ideas; that money is staying in the very successful lockbox. We're not touching it. Of course, we could give economic aid to China or lend money to the Saudis, again, but right now we're already loved so by everyone in the world that American tourists can't go over to Europe anymore without getting hugged.
"There are some of you who would like to spend our money on some made-up war. To you I say, 'what part of lockbox don't you understand?' What if there's a hurricane or a tornado, unlikely I know, because of the anti-hurricane and tornado machine I was instrumental in developing. But, what if? What if the scientists are right and one of those giant glaciers hits Boston? That's why we have the lockbox.
"As for immigration, solving that came at a heavy cost, and I personally regret the loss of California. However, the new Mexifornian economy is strong, and El Presidente Schwarzenegger is doing a great job.
"There have been some setbacks. The confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Michael Moore was bitter and divisive. However, I could not be more proud of how the House and Senate pulled together to confirm Chief Justice George Clooney.
"Baseball, our national pastime, still lies under the shadow of steroid accusations, but I have faith in baseball Commissioner George W. Bush when he says, 'We will find the steroid users if we have to tap every phone in America.'
"In 2001 when I came into office, our national security was the most important issue; the threat of terrorism real. Who knew that six years later Afghanistan would be the most popular Spring Break destination, or that Six Flags Tehran is the fastest-growing amusement park in the Middle East. And the scariest thing we Americans have to fear is...Live From New York, It's Saturday Night!"
It's now unofficially official: this appearance should be taken as more than a mere backhanded slap at the president. It was The Goracle's coming out party. The race is now on, and Gore's in it.
(watch the video)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Al Gore may not have "invented" the internet per se, but he's made an enviable fortune investing in search engine and media giant Google, according to the NY Post Thursday. Columnist Deborah Orin cites "a well-placed Democrat" who claims that The Goracle owns "a ton of Google and he's made enough money that he could wait until a month before (the 2008 election) and just drop $50 million in to launch a race. He's got way more than enough money to buy this thing at any time in the process."
Gore, a close friend of Google's CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt, is widely credited with contributing to the web's early development. Repuglican folklore has it that Gore claimed to have said "I invented the internet." What he actually said was, "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Big difference. What Gore did do is well-documented. As a Congressman and Senator in the '70s and '80s, Gore was instrumental in introducing computers into Congress, and sponsored bills making the federal government a catalyst for the "information superhighway." More importantly, he's credited with mandating the 1987 Reagan White House policy study of government computer networks which ultimately led to over a billion dollars being allocated towards national computer networks linking universities, schools and other institutions.
Regarding the '08 election, Orin quotes a "Gore friend" who said "He's doing what he should do if he wants to run; when you run and get the most votes as he did in 2000, I don't think psychologically you ever move on."
The Goracle, who's been getting massive media attention lately, will be in the spotlight again next week with the release of his new global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."
Let's start a movement called "Distract the Bastards '06." On election day this November, Democrats should underhandedly set up distractions in closely contested areas that lure Republicans away from the voting booth. For example, free NASCAR jacket giveaways in Virginia. All-day hunting contests in Texas, with big prize money. Free all-you-can-eat religious-themed barbecues in Ohio. Carnivals in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and elsewhere with surefire enticements like dunk-the-gay-guy booths and redneck vs. abortionist paintball matches. Or how about Indian reservation casino trips in Nevada, Arizona and Wyoming, where we ply 'em with endless buckets of nickels to play slots all day. These events would typically be held in the most far-reaching rural areas where access to the polls is extremely limited. We'll get 'em all liquored up, feed 'em lots of charcoaled beef and pork products, and give 'em lots of free stuff they'd normally kill for. We'll show these folks more fun than they've had since pulling those gay-marriage amendment levers back in '04. They'll be so drunk, bloated and exhausted that they'll have no desire or strength left to vote.
Distract the Bastards '06. Our secret weapon for winning the midterms.
Andy Ostroy Appearing Thursday (5/11) on Air America's Marc Maron Show and Friday's (5/12) KUCI Robert Larson Radio Show
A busy week. Will be gabbing with Marc Maron again tonite at about 10:30 PST (1:30am to you East Coast insomniacs). His program airs over LA's Progressive Talk KTLK 1150-AM. Check out Marc's website to stream live.
Friday night I'll be doing an in-depth interview on Robert Larson's Out the Rabbit Hole radio program over LA's KUCI 88.9FM. The show starts at 7PM EST and 4PM PST. You can stream live at the website.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Rove's Reign of Terror is Coming to an End. His Tired, Old Playbook Will Be Suicide For Repugs in November
Karl Rove's gearing up for the November midterms, which a few weeks ago I thought was a very scary proposition for Democrats. But this past week he's revealed his overall strategy to win. He's got his game face on and his playbook open, and his plan is to rally Repuglicans around President Bush and the GOP's agenda. In previous years this might cause more concern for Democrats than not. But Rove is starting to appear like a sad, delusional old warrior who doesn't realize the battlefront has changed and the war is almost over. His plan of attack to keep Repugs in power is teeming with miscalculation and is destined for failure. In short, it's suicide, and it not only could spell defeat for the GOP this Fall, but it's also going to mark the official end of Rove's reign of terror.
Rove's strategy for November is to focus on national security, taxes, social security and health care, and to once again drudge up the hot-button gay marriage issue. This is wonderful plan to help Democrats, in my opinion, as it shines a very bright spotlight on everything that's been wrong in the Bushevik monarchy for the past six years.
Rove's been advising his ReTHUGlican army to get the message out that Democrats would be weak on terrorism; a GOP fundraising letter went out this week warning that the Dem's would put national security "on the back burner," and that "our worst fears" could be realized." Give it a rest already, Karl. Just take a look at your boy's poll numbers if you want to know exactly who Americans believe is weak on national security. About two-thirds of the country now believes the Iraq war was a mistake, and on Bush's watch there's been more acts of terrorism throughout the world than ever before. Osama bin Laden, Abu Masab al-Zarqawi and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda's leadership, are still on the lam and threatening the U.S. with more atrocities. The CIA's top three officials "resigned" this past week under mounting controversy, further weakening our intelligence efforts. In their bungled Dubai Ports deal, the Busheviks were ready to hand over our waterways to an Arab nation with a questionable past. And Rove himself is facing indictment over his treasonous leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Wilson's identity, an action that's severely hindered the U.S.'s ability to monitor Iran's nuclear weapons programs and put our spies, our soldiers and the nation at risk (Wilson was a WMD specialist tracking Iran's nukes). If Rove's plan is to play the national security/terrorism cards again, to quote his boss, I say, "bring it on."
On the domestic front, Rove believes the GOP's miserable failures make for a solid campaign platform. "We need to be really aggressive in explaining the sharp differences that exist between our candidates and their candidates on issues like taxes," he said. "We have to do a better job at pressing advantages that we have on Medicare, prescription drugs." Here again Rove miscalculates that voters will accept more of the Repuglican rhetoric. Has he looked at gas prices lately? Home oil prices? Consumer confidence, which is at its lowest levels in seven months? Rising interest rates, and the effect they're having on credit card and home equity loan payments? Americans' wallets are being assaulted, and they're not interested in hearing about how the Democrats have been unwilling to give fat tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% of the population.
As far as health care is concerned, more Americans are without coverage than ever before, and costs have skyrocketed. And the Medicare prescription drug program? It's been an utter failure, causing tremendous confusion and frustration among seniors. Does Rove truly think he can score points with voters by highlighting these two critical areas?
Regarding social security reform, here again the Busheviks were met with colossal failure. They lied about the program's solvency, and their plan to fix this non-existent problem was convoluted at best.
If Rove believes he can distract American voters away from these core issues once again with inflammatory terrorism rhetoric and amendments banning gay marriage, he's in for a huge surprise.
What Rove fails to realize is that his time, and the GOP's, is up. We've clearly reached a tipping point, and voters are tuning out the BS. Bush's, Cheney's and the GOP-controlled Congress's approval ratings are at all-time lows, and bashing homosexuals can't save them anymore. Americans are fed up with this administration, and with the Repuglican leadership overall. While Bush's approval rating was about 70% preceding the 2002 midterm elections, he will be no such asset to incumbents this time around. If Rove and the Repugs want to discuss the Bushies' policy failures as if they were successes, let 'em. Their delusions will help make our fantasies a realty. And let's hope that after November, Rove is either facing trial or at the very least retired from politics after devastating GOP losses.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
As We Hear More Unofficial Chatter of Gore's 2008 Presidential Ambitions, We Offer Our Top 10 Reasons Why He Will Run
Is Al Gore's presidential aspirations becoming more of a reality? The mainstream media is beginning to hop on The Goracle's 2008 presidential campaign bandwagon. The Wall Street Journal Monday reported more buzz within Democratic circles that suggest candidate Gore gearing up for another shot at the Oval Office despite his continued coy denials. But to some former Clinton-Gore White House insiders, Gore's more interested in running than he's letting on, further fueling the speculation of his imminent candidacy. "I do know that he's thinking about it. I know for a fact," a former adviser says. "He's talked to people about the pros and cons."
The spotlight on Gore is pretty high at the moment. Between the film, his many impassioned speaking engagements and covers on several prominent magazines such as Vanity Fair, he's getting unprecedented attention than ever, and for good reasons. "His star will never be higher than it is right now with his movie coming out," says Democratic consultant Karen Skelton, Mr. Gore's former political director, referring to "An Inconvenient Truth," his documentary concerning the threat of global warming.
As the Journal reports, Gore has begun assembling a Nashville, Tenn.-based operation to help manage his time. He recently hired former top aide Roy Neel to head the office and brought on D.C. environmental activist and PR specialist Kalee Kreider to oversee communications. Has this operation truly been established to handle and coordinate his environmental efforts, or is it in fact the beginning nucleus of a 2008 campaign team? Only time will tell.
But as we've said in this blog countless times, the Democratic candidate with the best chance of winning the '08 prize is Gore, plain and simple. Here's our top 10 reasons why:
1. Legislative Experience: two terms in the House, two in the Senate
2. Executive Experience: two terms as vice president
3. Economic Experience: presided over historic seven years of prosperity
4. Iraq: His staunch anti-war stand was early and forceful
5. Environment: His decades of sounding the global warming alarm give him more credibility on this issue than any other candidate
6. Family Values: Stemming from their record-label-warning campaign days, the Gores project strong family values and a sense of morality
7. Passion: Since 2000 he's been the most outspoken critic of Bush and the GOP
8. Results: He won the popular vote in 2000; was robbed of the electoral college. He won 51-million votes in 2000, more than any other Democrat candidate in history, more than any Republican except Ronald Reagan in 1984, and 500,000 more than George Bush. Just think of the numbers he could put up after eight dreadful years of Bush
9. Fundraising: Gore has big, powerful, wealthy benefactors waiting on the sidelines to pour money into his campaign, and has the ability to compete with Hillary Clinton in this critical area. He also has the support of grass-roots organizations like MoveOn.org, and is a favorite in the ever-increasingly important blogosphere
10. Skeleton-Free Closet: At this point in his career, if there was any dirt to drudge up, we'd have seen it by now
America's faced with mounting economic and military challenges. Al Gore has shown that he has the experience and passion to go all the way. And he also has timing on his side.
Syndicated conservative columnist John Podhoretz thinks Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has what it takes to become the first woman president of the United States. But the right-wing pundit says its not her political skills, qualifications or charisma that could propel her into the White House, but rather that "she is a bitch." Podhoretz's contention is that Americans want in their president the overall qualities of a leader: tough, strong, resolute. In short, someone with male qualities.
"Just for vulgarity's sake," Podhoretz said, "let me put it this way: She's got to be a bitch. And Hillary is a bitch. Her challenge will be to play up her anti-feminine qualities without being completely without charm and appeal."
But Podhoretz asks, "If the public is looking for a tough guy, won't the public want a guy? Maybe. On the other hand, if there were ever an American woman politician who could pass for a tough guy, it's Hillary Clinton."
Podhoretz believes the ground rules are very different for male and female candidates. "Male pols these days have to show they have a touch of the classically feminine about them--compassion, caring, nurturing--in order to appeal to women. Female pols need to show they can be manly. In this way, Hillary's lack of femininity is the first, maybe the only, real political advantage her feminist toughness affords her. And it helps explain why she must be taken seriously as a powerful threat to Republicans and conservatives." That's the most back-handed compliment I've ever read.
A woman running for president, Podhoretz continued, "needs to be flat. She needs to be cold. She needs to have a hard, almost unbreakable shell...She has to be a little scary, a little intimidating, a little off-putting so that she gives the impression that she can handle the crisis and catastrophes that come a president's way."
Can you imagine if this sort of highly offensive personal attack was directed at a high-ranking conservative female? Could you imagine the fallout if some left-wing columnist called Laura Bush, Elizabeth Dole or Kay Bailey Hutchinson a bitch? The GOP'd raise holy hell. There's such a double-standard in American politics today. People expect the Repug's to engage in the politics of personal attack, and to play as dirty as possible. And they are all too happy to deliver on that expectation.
Friday, May 05, 2006
There's been much partisan chatter over the recent deal that syndicated Republican blowhard Rush Limbaugh signed with prosecutors last week to dismiss the 27-month-old prescription fraud charge against him if he complies with the terms for the next 18 months. But we should all show a little bit of compassion for the master of mega-dittos' addiction to pain medication: it must be very painful to support the Repuglican agenda these past couple of years.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Senate Candidates Sherrod Brown (OH) and Claire McCaskill (MO) Speak Out on Voter Fraud and Dirty GOP Politics
I attended a fundraiser Thursday evening in Manhattan for two Democrats who've promised to play rough as they vie for seats in the U.S. Senate currently occupied by Republicans Mike DeWine (OH) and Jim Talent (MO). In the Ohio race, former two-term Secretary of State, Rep. Sherrod Brown, has served the state's 13th Congressional District since 1992. He voted against the war, favors federal minimum wage increases, and voted against the Bush tax cuts. In Missouri, hot on Talent's trail is former prosecutor and state auditor Claire McCaskill, who, among other issues, has taken a strong stand on stem cell research which has left Talent bouncing on the ropes. Both Brown and McCaskill each lead in the polls by about ten points.
Brown and McCaskill were introduced by New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who passionately spoke of returning to "our America;" the opportunities facing the Democrats in the November elections; and the need to combat the evangelism and economic greed that dominates the GOP today. As head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), he said he's supporting only those candidates who are willing to work extremely hard at campaigning and raising funds. He's aggressively backing Brown and McCaskill, who he said are two very electible candidates in states that can easily turn from red to blue.
I asked Brown about Ohio's notorious problems with voter fraud and disenfranchisement, which was evident yet again this week in the state's GOP gubernatorial primary where Diebold voting machines in Democratic-rich, heavily African-American Cuyahoga County mysteriously went on the fritz, causing delays in the opening of polling centers until 1:30PM. Brown said there's committees and watchdog groups that have been established to both monitor and prevent such activity, and cautioned against scaring Democrats to the point where they say my vote's not going to be counted, so why bother going to the polls. This is a very valid point, but I'm still far from convinced that the fear many have of rampant voting irregularities is unwarranted.
My next question pertained to the Rovian playbook of dirty politics. In her opening comments, McCaskill said that in the weeks and months to come, the ReTHUGlicans will claim that she's "best friends with Hillary Clinton, eats small children, and wants everyone's sons to marry other men," among other things. In light of this, I asked how she and Brown, and other Democrats running in tight races, intend to fight an enemy that's been trained by a ruthless operative like Karl Rove, and one that not only lies, deceives and mercilessly slanders its opponents, but is terribly effective as well.
McCaskill, highly charismatic and feisty, vowed to fight a tough battle with equal artillery as her opponent. If they play rough, she'll play rough, she promised. And watching her speak, you truly sense that she means it. Her strategy, which I agree with fully, is to put the Repugs on the defensive and hold them publicly accountable at every turn for a failed war, low wages, lost manufacturing jobs, corruption, greed, etc. Can she succeed? If anyone can, McCaskill can. She's animated, ballsy and comes across as incredibly sincere. She's quite engaging, and it's easy to see why Schumer enlisted her to run. You can also understand how she can easily connect with voters. But we all know that the Rove mob does an awfully good job at making Dems spend all their time explaining that they really don't eat small children. And in the process, the Democrats' policy positions often end up taking a far away back seat. Just ask John Kerry.
As for Brown, an engaging, effective speaker and solid pol who's well-liked by Ohioans, he intends to repeatedly remind his state's financially strapped voters just how often politicians like DeWine vote against measures that would put money in their pockets. While he vowed to fight hard, he said "I don't see that as playing dirty, it's just telling the truth." He echoed McCaskill's contention that they and other Democratic challengers must continually expose the voting records of Talent, DeWine and the GOP leadership and relentlessly put them on the defensive for undermining the needs and interests of the average American.
You can get more information on these two very worthy candidates, and send in a contribution, by visiting their web sites:
As I've stated before, with the Iraq war, Katrina, the economy, illegal wiretappings, Bushevik leaks, lies about WMD and other political fiascos, the Republicans are handing us this election on a silver platter. Show your support, volunteer, and send your money. We can win in November if we all do whatever we possibly can to help folks like Sherrod Brown and Claire McCaskill get elected.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Why Has the Mainstream Media Ignored the Bombshell About the CIA Leak and How It's Damaged Our Ability to Monitor Iran's Nukes?
Earlier this week MSNBC's Hardball correspondent dropped the bombshell revelation that Karl Rove's leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Wilson's identity to reporters has put the nation at risk from Iran's nuclear weapons programs: "Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons materials into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson's cover was blown the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well."
Moments after the piece aired I wrote about it the blog, thinking that the next morning this would be the major story of the day. Yet in the days following that report, this explosive news has incredibly been all but ignored by the mainstream media. This should, without question, be one of the biggest stories of the year. Currently fighting a war in Iraq (a country which didn't have WMD programs), we are now being told by President Bush that we face another grave threat from Iran (a country that does have WMD programs) and are being asked to support aggressive sanctions and possibly future military action. Simultaneously, it appears that the country's highest-ranking policy advisor and political operative, Karl Rove, was out there putting our spies, our soldiers and our nation at great risk by undermining the intelligence community that's been monitoring Iran's nukes. This act of treason, and the consequences of it, is something that the mainstream media should be pouncing on, searching for more facts and exposing whatever damage that's been done to America's WMD intelligence efforts. Until the mainstream press in this country understands what it's responsibility is to the American people, and starts doing its damned job, the Bushevik Monarchy will be allowed to continue operating unethically and/or illegally unchecked. Where are the young Woodwards and Bernsteins?
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Testing the 2008 presidential waters this week in Iowa, former New York Mayor Rudy "Twin Towers" Giuliani demonstrated once again that without his 9/11 badge of honor he's little more than a Northeast pseudo-liberal out of synch with his party's views and delusional about its voters. Giuliani, a proponent of abortion rights, gay rights and gun control, believes he's in his party's mainstream and that across America this heretofore unseen 'big tent' is just waiting for a candidate like him to sweep them off their all-embracing, open-minded feet and thrust him into the White House. Reality-check time: we're talking about voters who in 2004, by and large, went to the polls for the sole purpose of discriminating against gays. Taking his delusion a step further, Giuliani also lavished praise on Bush, who he said would go down in history as "a great president." Of Bush's record, he said "I don't know what we're all so upset about." Somebody please call a medic before this condition worsens!
Here's the deal, Rudy. If you're gonna run for president, you better get inside the head of the average American. Not the wealthiest 1% whom the Busheviks take care of, but the poor and middle class of this country. And if you really want to know what they're 'all upset about', they're angry over astronomical gas and oil prices; rising interest rates; inflation; stagnant wages; the two-income necessity; record debt; rising housing costs; rising healthcare costs; a dreadful response to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina; the culture of cronyism and corruption that runs rampant in the White House; and a colossal military failure called the Iraq War. 'A great president' you say? Where's that medic!?
Looking ahead to '08, Giuliani lamented the possibility of going against likely front-runner Sen. John McCain (AZ). "John is a good friend and someone I have tremendous admiration for, and he's a hero of mine, so I haven't really thought about how I would approach that." The odds are, with Giuliani's enormous ego, he would most likely approach that quite competitively. You can bet that whenever a politician sticks his toes in the water, the feet will likely soon follow.
"I've got a lot of places to go and a lot of people to talk to and a long process of figuring out whether it makes sense to run for president in 2008," Giuliani said. "I don't know the answer to that yet. My effort this year will be to help Republicans get elected, and then, quite honestly, as part of it, saying to myself, does it look like I have a chance in 2008? And make that decision after the 2006 election." C'mon Rudy, you fool no one. You've waited your whole life for this.
Giuliani also believes his party is much more open and tolerant of diverse opinion and would welcome a candidate with more moderate (read: liberal) positions like his: "The party's a big party, and I fit in to the party real well over the last 10, 15 years." Poor guy. Will someone please wake him up from this dream.
With President Bush's approval rating at 33% it comes as no surprise that his presidency, if it were to end today, would be viewed by political historians as a failure, according to a new survey by the Siena College Research Institute (SRI). In its expert opinion poll, SRI said 8 out of 10 history and political science professors put Bush's ranking at "below average" or "failure," with over two-thirds saying there's little chance for him to improve his rating.
Bush's abysmal record in office includes a failed war that's spiraling out of control; a challenged economy with skyrocketing energy costs, rising interest rates and inflation and stagnate wages; a woefully inadequate response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita; multiple criminal scandals; and potentially treasonous activity by administration officials and the president himself. As a result, he's been ostracized by his own party and has become a burden on GOPers seeking re-election in November. Both he and his overall agenda have miserably failed in the eyes of voters, Congress and the media.
The SRI survey is one of the most respected rankings of American presidents, based on a model developed by Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. over 50 years ago. In 1982 it developed its own methodology for presidential rankings.
Among the questions asked of the experts: "George W. Bush has just finished five years as President. If today were the last day of his presidency, how would you rank him?" The responses were: Great: 2%; Near Great: 5%; Average: 11%; Below Average: 24%; Failure: 58%.”
"While time is needed to fairly and accurately gauge how well any president ranks with his predecessors, George W. Bush starts with a ranking that could hardly be lower," said Thomas Kelly, professor emeritus of American studies at Siena College.
Monday, May 01, 2006
A bombshell revelation was made Monday on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews that directly ties embattled former Bush policy advisor Karl Rove to the United States' inability to keep tabs on the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran. In leaking the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Wilson to reporters, Rove not only put the operative's career and life in danger, as well as those who worked alongside her, his actions also served to put the nation at grave risk.
According to Hardball correspondent David Shuster, "Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons materials into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson's cover was blown the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well."
The news of this breach comes just days after Bush once again reiterated the need to toughen the U.S. stand against Iran, which has vowed to continue ignoring demands by the United Nations Security Council that it suspend its uranium enrichment.
"Iranians should not have a 'nukular' weapon, the capacity to make a 'nukular' weapon, or the knowledge as to how to make a 'nukular' weapon, and now that we have the goal in mind, we're working on the tactics," Bush said on April 28. Tough talk from a president who despises leaks and the despicable leakers who leak them, yet who renegs on his promise to the American people to punish them if they are caught.
That "Bush's Brain" Karl Rove is responsible for this devastating intelligence setback pertaining to Iran's nuclear build-up--and still has his highly coveted security clearance--is utterly reprehensible and should be considered an act of treason.
Remember the ugly "Brooks Brothers riot" of 2000, where ReTHUGlicans from out-of-state waved fists, chanted "Stop the fraud!" and pounded windows to intimidate officials in the Florida recount effort? According to Monday's NY Post Page Six column, former vice-president Al Gore's daughter Karenna said that similar aggressive intimidation tactics were perpetrated outside the veep's mansion that same year. In an interview she gave in the May issue of Avenue Magazine, Gore said "the rancor was overwhelming at times...There was this horrible mob outside the vice president's house that was recruited by political operatives. They just kept yelling 'Get out of Cheney's house.' That was really painful and rude." It's astounding that the harassment of these disruptive mobs was allowed unchecked. I'd like to know what the Democratic leadership is doing to prevent a repeat performance.
Regarding his daughter, when told by the mag's editor Pamela Gross that she'd be gracing the cover, Gore quipped "If I had half the communications skills of Karenna, I'd be halfway through my second term right now."
Voters Tell GOP Senators to Take $100 Gas Rebate and Shove It. It's Time to Boycott Exxon Mobil and Send a Clear Message
The Republican-controlled United States Senate's idea of parity when it comes to the astronomical rise in fuel costs is, "Exxon Mobil, $36 billion for you, $100 for consumers." Last week, after coming back from recess to a hailstorm of constituent complaints over $3+ per gallon gas prices, Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) came up with the brilliant idea of giving taxpayers a $100 rebate to ease the pain. Since then, angry voters have been telling him and Senators where to stick those measly checks. And they see it as nothing more than a feeble, desperate attempt to pander to Americans in an election year.
Having driven a distance this past weekend, I had the unfortunate task of filling my tank twice, for a financial set-back of $120. It's unfathomable how Congress and the president has allowed this raping by the oil companies to occur. How is that we are paying exorbitant prices at the pump--$3.50-$4.00 per gallon in some parts of the country--while the oil companies are posting the highest profits for any company in any industry in U.S. history? Exxon Mobil earned a breathtaking $36 billion last year, and announced quarterly profits last week of $8.6 billion. On NBC's Meet the Press yesterday, panelists of oil representatives and industry experts said earnings will be even bigger this year than last. All the while as the American consumer gets the gas pump shoved firmly you-know-where.
The price of a gallon rose $.60 in April, and has doubled since Bush took office. And Exxon Mobil, throughout this crisis facing the average American, had the audacity to give it's former Chairman Lee Raymond a whopping $400 million retirement package which we're paying for.
It's time for consumers to take action in the form of a boycott of Exxon Mobil. It's time to send a very loud, very strong message to these thieves that skyrocketing prices will not be tolerated. Think of what would happen if every American decided to buy its gas at any station other than an Exxon Mobil. A week of catastrophic revenue declines might push these rapists to explore ways to keep energy costs down, don't ya think?